I was recently reading the ViewDo Labs blog and came across John Puopolo’s post where he’s reaching out to the community… Tap Tap Tap is this thing on. I really saw it a bit as a doctor wanting to put the stethoscope out there to check the pulse… I want to address his questions, but also give some background on how important engagement is. You can’t just ask for it… The passion comes from the heart of the community that’s being built… it’s so much about momentum and passion and then the technology just needs to get out of the way.
In his intro he questions… “few of us are engaging in a meaningful way.”
In any community there’s an evolution. In the beginning it’s few few people carrying the burden of producing compelling content, but as everyone gets more comfortable things change. Now the stage is not just for the few, but for everyone. There will always be lurkers. On top of that there are many communities that are created, but there is no heart beat, no life. On the other hand there are communities of all sizes that very much have a pulse with a healthy beating heart. Who forms that inner circle that help create cohesiveness really really matter. Let me pick on one of my favorite communities… SPYAM. The Yammer network for the SharePoint, Office 365 and Yammer communities. It’s got great gravity and has great engagement based on my experience. The network nearly has 5000 members and great participation. Let me break it down for you.
Here are a few of my favorite messages posted and self selected by number of replies…
This illustrates these conversations bring in a lot of different perspectives and participation. They start with a question and those in the network chime in. The network has steadily grown for over the past year and a half. Conversations and driven by the community.
- Does your company offer an ESN?
- Who champions the ESN in your company?
Traditionally I see it mostly as Marketing and Sales, (sometimes IT, but often they are also detractors) but there are distinct ambassadors that really have taken to it. So it is definitely individuals, but certain departments more than others.
- Do the executives use it to communicate effectively?
They are experimenting
- Is there a formal initiative in your company around enterprise social networking?
Semi formal. I never hear goals, but I do hear encouragement for incorporating it into our culture.
- What types of business decisions do you or your company hope to make based on ESN usage?
Speed of information. Answering questions that don’t fit in existing processes. Sharing news. Status updates.
- If your company offers an ESN, do you engage, actively, every day? If so, please share your story! If not, why not?
I think they expectation is that the individuals will set the pace, with notification integration, the engagement will grow.
- Are you working on a project where the ESN fosters collaboration? Is it effective? Why or why not?
Yes. Yammer helps us communicate and builds on what gets lost in email. The project team helps decide what should live in yammer… it really helps for retention and helps for ramp up for new team members.
- Is it “just easier” to use email? Is the ESN “just another” system to keep track of and “deal with?” or do you see benefits?
The benefits are there. In the beginning it can feel like just another collaboration or communication system, but the energy of the community and the knowledge that gets shared there is what makes the difference. Email suffers with a lot of weakness of conversations being lost, and really security is becoming a bigger and bigger problem with the status quo of email.
- Do you believe that if everyone used the ESN to maximum effect that your company would experience positive outcomes more frequently?
Yes, I believe it would speed up the information flow and all individuals who have another way to tap into the collective mind of the company. What better way is there to engage over distance?